GLSEN’s Outrageous Elementary School Toolkit
GLSEN’s Outrageous Elementary School Toolkit
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   01.19.12

The latest pedagogical assault on truth, decency, and parental rights by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) was revealed on Jan. 18,2012 and should serve as the slap upside the head that conservatives need.

GLSEN simultaneously released the results of its survey of attitudes about “homophobia” and “gender nonconformity” in elementary schools and its even more disturbing “toolkit” for eradicating conservative moral beliefs in young children via government schools.

Please read these excerpts from “Ready, Set, Respect! GLSEN’s Elementary School Toolkit” introduction:

[E]lementary school children are bombarded every day with messages about different groups of people in our society, many of which portray these groups in a negative, socially undesirable way. Those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are often among these groups. In addition to influencing attitudes, the messages children receive about these people also influences (sic) how they will make sense of gender and inform how they think about their own identity… without intentional guidance, the messages children receive about groups of people, as well as various identities and gender roles can complicate this process and contribute to bullying, prejudice and bias.

While most elementary educators have embraced this work and construct and conduct lessons focused on diversity, recent research suggests that intentional efforts to include explicit lessons that foster respect for differences in gender identity or gender expression or that include families with LGBT parents/caregiver, siblings, or other individuals significant in our student’s lives, are less frequent. As a result, many students go through their elementary school years without positive mentions of families that include LGBT persons or friends or people who may be gender non-conforming.

The elementary school years offer a wonderful and important opportunity to instill and/or nurture positive attitudes and respect for individual, family and cultural differences, including diversity related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

More specific instructions include the following:

  • Make sure the analogies you use when teaching don’t rely on hetero-normative or gender-normative images or viewpoints. A hetero-normative viewpoint is one that expresses heterosexuality as a given instead of being one of many possibilities. Such a viewpoint can translate into the development of all kinds of images that reinforce the view. The assumption (reinforced by imagery and practice) that a boy will grow up and marry a woman is based on such a viewpoint. A gender-normative image, on the other hand is one that delimits the possibilities for children of either gender by reinforcing stereotyped expectations.
  • Find ways of grouping and lining up students other than “boys here, girls there” or “boys do this, girls do that.” While some students may enjoy these ways of separating the class, they can isolate other students who may feel uncomfortable conforming to gender-based stereotypes.
  • Monitor choice activity time to ensure that students are not segregating themselves by gender.
  • Become more aware of the ways that you support gender stereotypes in your expectations of students and their work and intervene when you hear students making genderbased assumptions.
  • Write math problems with contexts that include a variety of family structures and gender-expressions. For example, “Rosa and her dads were at the store and wanted to buy three boxes of pasta. If each costs $.75, how much will all three boxes cost?”

    (emphasis added)

The argument that since there exist households headed by homosexuals, schools must both teach about them and teach about them positively is simply wrong. Neither of those positions is fact. Both are moral propositions.

For a government employee to teach other people’s children that all family structures are morally equivalent and deserving of respect is an act of stunning hubris. All people are created in the image and likeness of God, but many beliefs, actions, types of relationships, and family structures are profoundly disordered and efface human dignity and flourishing.

Schools have no ethical or pedagogical obligation to teach about every phenomenon that exists, nor do they have any obligation to teach affirmatively about every phenomenon that exists.

The view that “hetero-normativity” and “gender-normativity” are conceptually and morally problematic is an unproven, non-factual, value-laden, radical, subversive belief — not a fact. And it is an ideologically biased belief that no government employee has a right to impose on young children.

The belief that all family structures are morally equivalent is a non-factual belief with moral implications — not a neutral fact. The idea that gender is solely or centrally a construct of the mind is a non-factual belief with serious moral implications. It is not an objective fact.

Once again, GLSEN is exploiting bullying to eradicate moral beliefs that they don’t like. No GLSEN resources or assumptions should be permitted in public schools.

Taxpayers, with or without children in the schools their taxes subsidize, should be asking their school administrators if any teachers are using GLSEN resources and/or attempting to undermine “hetero-normativity” and “gender-normativity” in any way. And taxpayers should be expressing their opposition to Ally Week (in Oct.), No Name-Calling Week (in Jan.), and the Day of Silence (in Apr.), all of which are creations of GLSEN that exploit legitimate anti-bullying sentiment to undermine conservative moral beliefs.

Conservatives, you’ve been warned.


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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Analyst in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s...
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